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Portland mayor decries 4/20 marijuana giveaway


Portland mayor decries 4/20 marijuana giveaway

PORTLAND, Maine — The mayor of Portland said he’s disappointed by a free pot giveaway in Monument Square that drew a long line of people and a cloud of smoke.

Under state law and city ordinance, marijuana can’t be used in public, but the crowd enjoyed it anyway, uninterrupted.

“Well, we didn’t have a lot of complaints, but I don’t think we want our police department wasting a lot of resources on this,” Mayor Ethan Strimling said. “The war on drugs has never been successful.”

Strimling said he was disappointed by the event and believes it was irresponsible.

“If someone was out there handing out free shots of alcohol, I think people would have a similar reaction, saying this isn’t what we want to have happening in the middle of the city,” he said.

Crash Barry drew a crowd of about a hundred on Thursday afternoon, when he handed out free marijuana, along with copies of his new book “ Marijuana Valley.” It was a celebration he shared with a variety of people, from bartenders and homeless folks to lawyers and doctors.

“I’m giving everybody a present of a book and one gram of cannabis in celebration of Maine’s first, legal 4/20, which is kind of like Christmas, Easter, New Year’s and St. Patrick’s Day all rolled together for the cannabis community,” Barry said Thursday.

It’s the first “holiday” since Maine voted to legalize marijuana for recreational use in November, allowings adults age 21 and older to possess up to 2.5 ounces. Retail sales won’t start until February at the earliest, but it’s perfectly legal to give away.

When Barry ran out of the 225 individually packaged samples, he began giving out loose buds from his own stash. The remaining line of about 50 people cheered this move. When that was gone, Barry gave the throng a foot-long joint to share among themselves.

Barry said he plans to return next year to host the event again.

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How a Cannabis Expert Sneaks Weed Past the TSA


How a Cannabis Expert Sneaks Weed Past the TSA

By: Patrick Allan – Lifehacker – April 17. 2017 – Tips for flying within the US

So you’re about to hop on a plane, but you want to bring your legally acquired medical marijuana product with you on the flight. It’s a very sticky icky situation, but here’s what one expert recommends

If you’re thinking “Won’t you get in trouble?!” the answer is maybe. Marijuana is legal in a lot of places in the U.S. now, especially for medicinal purposes, and TSA doesn’t actually look for drugs—it’s not their job. There are no drug-sniffing scanners in those conveyor belt machines, and they aren’t chomping at the bit to bust you for having weed-infused honey. Their focus is on safety and finding dangerous items. Plus, the TSA has relaxed a little on the matter for a few years now, and some major airports are now even considered to be “medical marijuana-friendly.” For example, you can fly domestically within the state of California carrying eight ounces or less of medicinal marijuana or equivalent in cannabis product as long as you have a state-issued card.

That said, things can get complicated because the TSA is a federal program. Marijuana is still illegal according to federal law, no matter what a state’s laws say, and the TSA says local law is not relevant when it comes to handling such matters. They don’t treat medical marijuana any differently than non-medical marijuana since federal law provides no basis for it. The whole federal vs. state law thing is a mess, but if you want to try and understand it all, Last Week Tonight had a great rundown of the situation. So what’s that mean for you, a well-to-do novice smuggler? Well, TSA may not be looking for your weed, but they might refer the matter to a law enforcement officer if they happen across it during security screening, even if you have a state-issued card. Then whatever happens is up to the responding law enforcement officer. They might confiscate the item, or possibly arrest you. This should go without saying, but try at your own risk.

If you are going to try, though, there are ways to do it right and increase your odds. Basically, you just need to make it so TSA won’t happen across it during routine checks, which is actually easier than it sounds. Over at The Cannabist, Joel Milton, the chief executive of Baker, a tech company that helps dispensaries build their brand and engage with their customers, shares his best tips:

  • Don’t bring any liquid cannabis: TSA is always on the lookout for liquids of any kind, so avoid the infused drinks and elixirs. Bringing a liquid under the 3.5 ounce limit is better, but still not ideal since they’ll be looking more closely.
  • Use odor-sealed packaging: If you’re bringing flowers, or even some edibles, keep them sealed in containers that don’t let any stink out. If they can smell it at all, you’re not getting it through. Pack it along with snacks and food items so it blends in.
  • Don’t try too hard to hide it: TSA and their machines are looking for anomalies. As Milton points out, shoving a container of it into a jar of peanut butter is going to look very suspicious on a scanner. Same goes for shoving a vape pen into the battery compartment of your laptop and other such hideaways. They’ll want to pull those things out and check them. Milton says it’s better to keep the amount very small and to hide things in plain sight.
  • Eat an edible before you fly: If you’re not comfortable flying with it on your person, just down a treat before you go through security. Just know your limits and don’t eat too much.

Milton explains he’s had his bags searched several times by TSA, usually because of an errant water bottle, but he’s had things hidden in plain sight that went overlooked. Remember, TSA are looking for very specific things. If they don’t see that stuff, they want to move things along as fast as possible.

Still, keep in mind, if it’s found by a TSA agent, things might not work out. But as long as you’re careful, not trying to smuggle a brick of it, and not flaunting it around like an idiot, there’s no reason you should have any trouble. TSA makes the final call on whether an item is allowed on the plane or not, so be smart and don’t give them a reason not to allow it.

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PHOTOS: Inside Denver’s International Church of Cannabis


Inside Denver’s International Church of Cannabis

By: Helen H. Richardson – Denver Post – April 13, 2017

Photos from the International Church of Cannabis in Denver, Colorado. The interior painting was done by artist Okuda San Miguel. The members of this new church call themselves Elevationists and say that the use of cannabis helps elevate people to a higher form of themselves.

They plan to open their doors to the public on April 20th and have a weekend of events planned for the neighborhood to introduce people to this new and unique concept for a church.

DENVER, CO – APRIL 11: This is a photo of the interior of the International Church of Cannabis at 400 south Logan street on April 11, 2017 in Denver, Colorado. The interior painting was done by artist Okuda San Miguel. The members of this new church call themselves Elevationists and say that the use of cannabis helps elevate people to a higher form of themselves. They plan to open their doors to the public on April 20th and have a weekend of events planned for the neighborhood to introduce people to this new and unique concept for a church. (Photo by Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post)

DENVER, CO – APRIL 11: Randy Bogue checks out the new sign for the church that is made out of recycled astroturf at the International Church of Cannabis at 400 south Logan street on April 11, 2017 in Denver, Colorado. The members of this new church call themselves Elevationists and say that the use of cannabis helps elevate people to a higher form of themselves. They plan to open their doors to the public on April 20th and have a weekend of events planned for the neighborhood to introduce people to this new and unique concept for a church. (Photo by Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post)

DENVER, CO – APRIL 11: Artist Dave Bogue sands the new Elevationists’ new logo, or what church members have called it an eleglyph, for the International Church of Cannabis at 400 south Logan street on April 11, 2017 in Denver, Colorado. The logo is made of oak and represents the new church. The members of this new church call themselves Elevationists and say that the use of cannabis helps elevate people to a higher form of themselves. They plan to open their doors to the public on April 20th and have a weekend of events planned for the neighborhood to introduce people to this new and unique concept for a church. (Photo by Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post)

DENVER, CO – APRIL 11: Church owner Steve Berke, middle, stands for a portrait with the rest of his crew inside the International Church of Cannabis at 400 south Logan street on April 11, 2017 in Denver, Colorado. They are from left to right: Alec Rubin, Adam Mutchler, Angie Hargot, Steve Berke, Briley Hale, Dave Bogue and Lee Molloy. The interior painting was done by artist Okuda San Miguel. The members of this new church call themselves Elevationists and say that the use of cannabis helps elevate people to a higher form of themselves. They plan to open their doors to the public on April 20th and have a weekend of events planned for the neighborhood to introduce people to this new and unique concept for a church. (Photo by Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post)

DENVER, CO – APRIL 11: This is a photo of the interior of the International Church of Cannabis at 400 south Logan street on April 11, 2017 in Denver, Colorado. The interior painting was done by artist Okuda San Miguel. The members of this new church call themselves Elevationists and say that the use of cannabis helps elevate people to a higher form of themselves. They plan to open their doors to the public on April 20th and have a weekend of events planned for the neighborhood to introduce people to this new and unique concept for a church. (Photo by Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post)

DENVER, CO – APRIL 11: This is a photo of the interior of the International Church of Cannabis at 400 south Logan street on April 11, 2017 in Denver, Colorado. The interior painting was done by artist Okuda San Miguel. The members of this new church call themselves Elevationists and say that the use of cannabis helps elevate people to a higher form of themselves. They plan to open their doors to the public on April 20th and have a weekend of events planned for the neighborhood to introduce people to this new and unique concept for a church. (Photo by Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post)

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What Marijuana Legalization in Canada Could Mean for the United States


What Marijuana Legalization in Canada Could Mean for the United States

BY: Katy Steinmetz – Time Magazine – April 6, 2017

America’s neighbor to the north is fast moving toward legalizing recreational marijuana nationwide, which would make Canada the second country in the world to do so. And the impact of having weed legalized on such a big scale, so close to home, may affect the future of pot in the United States.

“There are those who sometimes regard Canada as the 51st state. It would be an important signal about the movement coming of age. It would add to the critical mass,” says Oregon Rep. Earl Blumenauer, a member of Congress’ newly-formed Cannabis Caucus who is pushing to change the way the federal government treats the substance. And, he says: “It would shift the center of gravity.”

When Colorado voters legalized marijuana in 2012, it became the first jurisdiction in the world to regulate and tax pot like alcohol. By the time Election Day was over in 2016, eight states had legalized pot for adult use, covering a population more than double the size of Canada’s. (Nearly 30 states have comprehensive medical marijuana laws.) Uruguay became the first nation to legalize marijuana several years ago but has been sluggish in setting up a market. That means that while American states have been blazing the trail, Canada will likely be taking the baton.

Some see that as a “missed opportunity,” as Sam Kamin, a marijuana law expert at the University of Denver, puts it. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s liberal government plans to announce legislation around April 10. And Kamin believes that the model set to be announced — wherein the national government sets big-picture standards but important factors like how to distribute and sell the product are left to the provinces — “would have and could work here in the U.S. But we see them passing us in that regard.”

Some Canadian companies are already investing in the U.S. marijuana market and looking to license products that have become popular here, says Troy Dayton, CEO of Arcview Group, which runs a network of investors and publishes an annual report on the size of the legal marijuana industry. Assuming legalization comes to pass, “it’s the Canadian companies that have the best shot of building the biggest portfolios of U.S. companies,” he says. He also believes that Canada will be in a good position to set up a lucrative export business, as populous countries like Germany have legalized medical marijuana as a nation and others consider relaxing their laws.

According to Arcview, North Americans spent $6.7 billion on legal pot in 2016, up more than 30% from the year before. And if recreational markets come online as planned in places like Canada, California and Massachusetts, that could more than triple in the next five years, according to the company’s estimates. Canada moving forward “will create some market pressure for the U.S. to step up” in areas like innovation and investment as well as policy, says John Hudak, a marijuana policy expert at the Brookings Institution.

There may also be costs to going first, as Colorado knows well. The lessons that Canada will likely learn while setting up the market — like how and when it matters when rules vary among provinces that share borders — will be ones that the United States can learn from, just as states like Oregon and Washington have had the benefit of learning from Colorado’s growing pains on issues like edibles. Canada’s own recreational marijuana task force consulted with Washington and Colorado to prepare for legalization.

“There’s all of these ways that the U.S. market is nascent and clunky and inefficient,” says Arcview’s Dayton. “It’s an opportunity to see an efficient market.” Canada may also, for example, work through how to deal with treaties that contain “international commitments to suppress marijuana.”

Whatever happens in Canada is more likely to affect conversations about how to deal with marijuana in the U.S. than happenings in countries farther away, experts say. Canada is “a country the U.S. tends to trust, tends to see as a peer, tends to see as similar,” says Brookings’ Hudak, whereas politicians would be more likely to write off action in a place like Uruguay as “some odd Latin American policy experiment.” And if legalization takes hold without the sky falling, as it has in U.S. states, lawmakers pushing for reform on the federal level will “definitely hold it up as a model and something that informs the policy conversations,” he adds.

But it’s unlikely to tip any scales in terms of major reform. Blumenauer and fellow members of the Cannabis Caucus recently introduced a robust package of marijuana-related legislation, ranging from an ambitious bill that would regulate marijuana like alcohol on a federal level to measures aimed at making it easier for veterans to access medical marijuana through the Department of Veteran Affairs.

Despite the mixed messages that President Donald Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions have sent on marijuana, some suggesting that the federal government may step up enforcement, Blumenauer says he’s optimistic that they’ll get traction in three areas: changing a 1980s-era tax provision that seriously hampers legal marijuana businesses; securing banking services for an industry that is forced to perilously operate in cash; and easing restrictions on marijuana-related research.

Legalization in Canada “would be helpful” in pushing for reform, Blumenauer says, “but only incidentally so.” He says that what is happening on the ground in America is much more profound — how big the congressional delegation now is representing states where marijuana is legal, the fact that Americans now support legalizing marijuana at historically high rates, the stories of families who have uprooted their lives to move to places where they can access marijuana-as-medicine for children with seizure disorders or for retired soldiers with PTSD.

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Hospitals Deny Patients Organ Transplants for Smoking Weed


Hospitals Deny Patients Organ Transplants for Smoking Weed

By: Rhett Jones – Gizmodo – April 4, 2017

While the tension between state and federal laws has created a difficult situation for cannabis users, there’s another factor that is complicating the changing attitude towards weed: hospitals. Though it isn’t legally mandated, many hospitals won’t allow people who use weed to be placed on organ transplant waiting lists.

According to an extensive report from Buzzfeed, policies for treatment of patients who need an organ transplant that test positive for cannabis use varies from hospital to hospital. The United Network for Organ Sharing manages the U.S. organ supply and it has no official policy for drug or alcohol use. If someone uses weed for medicinal or recreational use and they need an emergency organ transplant, they just have to hope they end up in a hospital that doesn’t consider that to be a problem.

The fact that over half of the states have legalized medical cannabis use and eight states have legalized recreational use doesn’t really matter. Buzzfeed contacted numerous hospitals across the country and found a variety of policies.

From the report:

The Nebraska Medical Center, in a state that prohibits all cannabis use, calls it “a complex issue that is dealt with on a case-by-case basis between the patient and their transplant team.”
At Massachusetts General Hospital, a hospital in a state that has legalized both medical and recreational marijuana, it’s a far different story. “If someone is abusing marijuana — either medically or recreationally — they would not be a candidate for transplant,” a spokesman said.
At the University of Utah Hospital, where Riley was initially treated, cases are evaluated individually, a spokeswoman said. “We do not have a specific policy regarding cannabis, but generally speaking,
we do not transplant organs in patients with active alcohol, tobacco, or illicit drug use or dependencies until these issues are addressed, as these substances are contraindicated for a transplant,” she said. The state of Utah bans both medical and recreational marijuana except for a very limited program geared toward treating people who suffer seizures.
The University of Vermont Medical Center, in a state that allows medical marijuana, said it has no policy related to cannabis, “but our position with patients is no smoking. Period.” At UW Medicine in Washington, where cannabis is legal for medical and recreational purposes, smoking of any kind is discouraged, but using cannabis “doesn’t necessarily exclude” a patient from a transplant. Some hospital transplant centers are amending their policies. At Yale-New Haven Transplantation Center at Yale University, a zero-tolerance policy on cannabis evolved to a 30-day window for potential transplant patients to clear cannabis from their systems.

In California, the first state to legalize the use of medical weed, legislation has attempted to address this issue. Denying a patient an organ solely based on their use of medical cannabis has been outlawed. But Stanford Health Care at Stanford University in Northern California still considers any kind of drug use a potential reason to leave a patient off of the transplant waiting list.

There are many different reasons that physicians give for their decision to treat cannabis users differently than other patients. Some say that inhaling the smoke can lead to fungal infections. Others worry that cannabis users aren’t as reliable as non-users and might not be as responsible with prescribed regimens to take care of their organs. These fears are mostly related to the short supply of organs, rather than a moral issue. Arthur Caplan, head of medical ethics at the NYU School of Medicine, tells Buzzfeed that many hospitals are “looking for some way to kick people off the list,” due to the high demand. More than 118,000 people are currently waiting for a suitable organ.

 

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Where NFL players and Jerry Jones differ on marijuana policy


Where NFL players and Jerry Jones differ on marijuana policy

By: Dan Graziano – ESPN – April 5, 2017

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and some other NFL owners want to change the way the league punishes players for marijuana. So do the players. But if the talk is about doing away with marijuana testing completely, it may surprise you to learn that the players’ position is “not so fast.”

Yes, the players would like to change the league’s policy on marijuana, but they don’t want to do away with it entirely, because they think the policy can be helpful to them if done the right way.

Jones and his fellow owners see this as a valuable potential bargaining chip in the next collective bargaining agreement negotiations, which could be coming sooner than you think.

The location of the common ground these two sides end up finding could have a major impact on the health of the game and its players. And the process of finding that common ground could begin within the next few weeks. But before we can predict what may or may not happen, it’s important to examine the motivations of the people on both sides of the issue.

What the owners want

The league — defined here as Jones and his 31 fellow team owners — has made it clear that it wants to extend the current CBA, which runs through 2020. Sources on both sides expect the league to approach the National Football League Players Association within the coming weeks about opening collective bargaining talks aimed at such an extension.

From Jones’ perspective, the marijuana issue has two key prongs: He doesn’t want to lose his players for long stretches at a time because of drug suspensions, and he views marijuana as an issue around which the players would be willing to negotiate. Surely, Jones’ fellow owners share the former sentiment and the latter hope.

What the players want

According to sources, this topic was discussed extensively at the NFLPA’s rep meeting in Arizona last month, and union leaders prepared a proposal for a revised marijuana policy and submitted it to the player reps for review. At this time, the player reps and their teammates are reviewing the policy before submitting it to the league for discussion.

Sources with knowledge of what was discussed at the rep meeting say the players’ new proposal is focused on counseling, treatment and pain management. The players don’t necessarily want to do away with marijuana testing; they just want to reduce or eliminate the punitive aspect of the testing process.

Under the union’s plan, the purpose of a marijuana testing program would be to identify players in need of help. Their position is that it’s easy to tell the difference, based on the number of nanograms per milliliter (ng/ml) that show up in a test, whether the player is using the drug for recreational use or using it excessively.

 

Right now, the NFL standard for a positive marijuana test is 35 ng/ml, which is higher than the 15 it was before the drug policy was renegotiated three years ago but still lower than Major League Baseball’s 50 and far lower than the Olympics’ 150. So a player could test positive at 35 ng/ml and still get the same level of punishment as one who tests positive at 100 ng/ml.

The union’s position is that those cases need to be handled differently in substantive ways. For example: Should someone test positive above 100 ng/ml, that could be a red flag for an addiction situation or a player who’s dealing with some sort of chronic pain that he hasn’t previously reported. In a case like that, testing could lead the team and/or league to provide some sort of treatment for the addiction or the pain.

The important takeaway here is that NFL players don’t necessarily want the league to stop testing them for marijuana. The union’s proposal basically says, “Let’s still test for it, but let’s do it in a constructive and less punitive way.”

 

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John Oliver on marijuana legalization: ‘This is genuinely worth worrying about’


John Oliver on marijuana legalization: ‘This is genuinely worth worrying about’

By: The Guardian – April 3, 2017

Marijuana and its struggle to become legalized was the subject of John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight on Sunday, as he showed the drug – which he dubbed “catnip for people” – has come up against federal blockades despite being legal on a state level.

He started with reminding viewers that on election night there was a silver lining for anti-Trump voters who supported the legalization of weed.

“One small bright spot on election night was pro-marijuana referenda passing in eight states,” said Oliver. “It’s a little weird that celebrations happened on the same night Trump was elected. It’s like celebrating your baseball team winning on the deck of the sinking Titanic.”

He added that 44 states have some form of medical marijuana law and eight have recreational use. “That is good news,” he said. “The war on drugs was futile, expensive and imposed overly harsh penalties especially on African Americans, which police data suggests are more than four times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession.”

But despite progress on a state level, Oliver reminded his audience that because of the difference in federal law – where the drug is still illegal – even those who acquire the drug legally could be in trouble.

“If you have marijuana right now, even if you are acting completely legally according to your state, you may still be in serious jeopardy,” he said. “You could lose your home, job or possessions. This story is genuinely worth worrying about.”

“Naturally, it was Richard Nixon, the Mozart of racially motivated lawmaking, who targeted it in his war on drugs,” he said.

Oliver then played a recording of Nixon talking about how he thought there was a Jewish conspiracy to legalize the drug in the 70s. The Controlled Substances Act in 1970, which is still in effect and means marijuana is classed as a schedule one drug, the highest possible classification, alongside heroin.

Oliver explained that federal law is now clashing with state laws, as states – such as California – seek to make the drug legal. One of the knock-on effects of this is that legal medical marijuana companies struggle to get bank accounts because on a federal level they are still illegal.

“That is a shitty way to be forced to do business,” he added. “On a suspicious scale, cash-stuffed envelopes rank somewhere between unfurled hundreds dusted in white powder and a wad of damp ones containing a single pubic hair.”

Oliver then sketched out the impact of the difference between federal and state law. It means companies can’t deduct certain expenses so they have far higher tax bills, and users of medical marijuana can be fired if they fail drugs tests – even in states where the drug is legal, and children can be taken from parents who use medical marijuana.

Veterans and their use of the drug to help with PTSD was also discussed as Oliver showed footage of a Vietnam veteran in Kentucky who claimed that the drug was the only way he could overcome nightmares and flashbacks.

He said: “So for all the talk you hear of marijuana being a gateway drug, for him that gateway led to peaceful sleep, rigorous exercise and community service.”

Again the difference between state and federal law came up as Oliver said that in Kentucky, where the veteran was from it would be illegal for a doctor from the Veterans Administration to write him a prescription because it’s a federal entity.

Oliver then spoke about how under Barack Obama, the federal approach to marijuana was more lenient, but with Jeff Sessions as attorney general things could soon become more draconian.

“If an 83-year-old Republican from Alaska has come around on this issue, then it’s probably time for our laws to catch up,” said Oliver speaking about the cannabis caucus.

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Trump and Cannabis: Which Way Will the Wind Blow?


Trump and Cannabis: Which Way Will the Wind Blow?

By: Brad Auerbach – Forbes – April 2, 2017

The Trump Administration has generated an unprecedented amount of press across all sectors, and a commensurate amount of uncertainty. The cannabis industry is unaffected. Trends through early November 2016 indicated that legalization was gaining momentum. But what do the trends look like now? I was able to gather perspectives from a handful of folks in the business.

On the one hand, it is clear the Republican Party over the last few decades has shifted from its traditional hands off approach of governance to become more proscriptive in driving social mores. On the other hand, the Republican Party has been grappling with its new leader, who seems to fit no mold seen before.

Here is what some experts in the cannabis field across the country have observed.

“It’s a win-win situation – the President can realize success politically by listening to the 71% of American voters who support cannabis. As a successful businessman, the President knows that American leadership in the fastest growing agricultural sector in the world will mean thousands of jobs for voters in Oregon and tens of thousands of jobs across the country. We trust that the President sticks to his campaign promise – that it’s each individual state’s right to decide how to implement cannabis use regulations.”  –William Waldrop, CEO of Signal Bay.

“The Trump administration’s unclear stance on the cannabis industry has caused some concern in the space. The industry is now mostly under the impression that state laws will be respected with the slight chance of a potential misguided crackdown on the adult-use markets. In Colorado, we’re going full steam ahead and have seen no ill effects in regard to entrepreneurs entering the industry. While investors have more fear than at this point last year, most are still excited to jump in.”  –Jeffrey Zucker, President of Green Lion Partners.

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California: Contaminated Marijuana Discovered Among Medical Cannabis Supplies by Investigators


California: Contaminated Marijuana Discovered Among Medical Cannabis Supplies by Investigators

By: Denny Reulos – Newsline – April 2, 2017

California Distributors of marijuana are withdrawing products from their stands after most of their stocks of medical cannabis were discovered by investigators to be contaminated.

To deal with the problem, the California Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation pledged on Thursday to overhaul the safety regulations that guide medical marijuana testing.

According to NBC Los Angeles, although shop owners guaranteed that their products were clean, NBC4 I-Team found that a majority of marijuana products in California contain pesticides.

The investigators reported that 44 various cannabis products were purchased from different stores in Southern California, after asking if the items did not contain contaminants. The products were then delivered to Steep Hill Laboratories in Berkeley for testing. The tests found that around 93 percent of the marijuana held copious amounts of pesticides. In fact, the contamination levels were over the safety limits of other states with legal marijuana.

In an interview with NBC Los Angeles, Ms. Lori Ajax, Director of the state’s Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation said: “I think the goal of California is to make sure the public and patients have safe cannabis and so I think it is important that we test the product and that we’re testing for pesticides.

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Investors Cheer New Cannabis Bills


Investors Cheer New Cannabis Bills

New cannabis bills are flooding the halls of Congress

By: Jeff Siegel – Wealth Daily – March 30, 2017

Last week, I commented on Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard’s 5-minute speech to Congress where she made her case for the federal decriminalization of cannabis.

Well, this morning a few more level-headed lawmakers introduced new measures to reform cannabis policy and support cannabis businesses.

As reported by the National Cannabis Industry Association, these reforms were introduced by a bipartisan group of senators and representatives that are looking to resolve tension between state and federal cannabis laws. Check it out …

The Small Business Tax Equity Act of 2017, introduced in the House by Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL) and Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and in the Senate by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), and Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO), would allow state-legal cannabis businesses to take normal business deductions like any other legal business. Currently, the law prohibits cannabis businesses from deducting expenses related to sales.

“Cannabis businesses aren’t asking for tax breaks or special treatment,” said Smith. “They are just asking to be taxed like any other legitimate business. NCIA and its members appreciate this strong support for a fair approach, and we’re especially proud to newly gain that support from Rep. Curbelo.”

The Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act, introduced in the House by Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO), would regulate marijuana like alcohol by inserting marijuana into the section of the U.S. Code that regulates “intoxicating liquors.” It would give oversight authority to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and would establish a permitting system to cover the cost of that oversight.

The Responsibly Addressing the Marijuana Policy Gap (RAMP) Act, introduced by Sen. Wyden and Rep. Blumenauer in their respective chambers, covers a broad range of issues at the federal level, including banking and tax fairness for businesses, civil forfeiture, and drug testing for federal employees. The two Oregon officials see the provisions in this bill, collectively, along with the other two bills introduced today, as the “Path to Marijuana Reform.”

The Marijuana Revenue and Regulation Act, introduced by Sen. Wyden and Rep. Blumenauer, contains the provisions included in the Marijuana Tax Revenue Act and the Regulating Marijuana Like Alcohol Act.

Although the introduction of these measures is the beginning of what is likely to be a long and frustrating process, never before have we seen this level of support in Washington. This is actually a very big deal, and as investors in the cannabis space, we are not only paying close attention, but we’re letting our representatives know how we feel, too. I hope you’ll join us in the continued fight against cannabis prohibition, which, without a doubt serves as a violation of human rights.

 

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A how-to class teaches N.J. patients to cook with cannabis


A how-to class teaches N.J. patients to cook with cannabis

By: Jan Hefler – March 27, 2017 – The Philly

 

Vanessa Amador has created a niche business in New Jersey that’s designed to woo an exclusive and often-misunderstood clientele.

Though others may want to attend the unique cooking classes offered by Cannabi Kitchen in Turnersville, Gloucester County, only those who flash a photo ID issued by the state’s tightly regulated medical-marijuana program will be allowed in.

The curriculum: how to make cannabis-infused sweets, including banana walnut muffins, creamy chocolate candies shaped like marijuana leaves, and even green gummy bears and worms. More items — such as smoothies — could be added.

The students are required to bring one ingredient — one-eighth of an ounce of cannabis from one of New Jersey’s five licensed dispensaries, and it must be inside a container with an unbroken seal.  Whether the strain is Blueberry Kush,  AC-DC, or something else is up to the student.

“The classes are strictly for medical-marijuana patients — definitely not for people who might want to walk in,” said Amador, during an interview last week at the New Jersey Alternative Medicine clinic in Turnersville, where she is an office manager.  The clinic, which will host some of the classes starting in May, is run by Andrew Medvedovsky, a neurologist who specializes in pain management.

Medvedovsky writes recommendations for patients who suffer from one of the dozen or so medical ailments that qualify them to use marijuana in New Jersey and who meet the program criteria.  Many suffer from severe muscle spasms and neurological disorders.

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San Francisco’s trendiest coffee roaster is now making a $12 marijuana-infused cold brew


San Francisco’s trendiest coffee roaster is now making a $12 marijuana-infused cold brew

BY: Melia Robinson – Business Insider – March 16, 2017

A Bay Area pot startup has made it even easier to “wake and bake,” with a new marijuana-infused cold-brew coffee.

Somatik, an artisanal pot-products company founded in 2016, teamed up with boutique roaster Ritual Coffee to create the drink, which hit cannabis dispensary refrigerators in January. An eight-ounce bottle retails for $12.

“Cannabis is a lot like coffee in that … everyone has their routine. I wanted to show that you could actually build a routine around cannabis that [keeps you] functional and does help you,” says Christopher Schroeder, founder of Somatik.

Somatik Featuring Ritual Coffee uses coffee beans grown in western Colombia — steeped for 12 hours in cold water to produce a robust, silky concentrate — and 15 milligrams of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the ingredient in marijuana that gets users high. Drinking the whole bottle would be the (very) rough equivalent of taking a few hits off a joint.

The Bay Area has long been a breeding ground for innovative coffee roasters, from venture-capital darling Blue Bottle Coffee to family-run Philz Coffee. More recently, another industry the area is famous for — marijuana — has moved towards artisanal products as the market matures. Entrepreneurs like Schroeder are optimistic that craft weed will become the new specialty coffee — a lucrative business.

Somatik Featuring Ritual Coffee pairs the two trends in a product that aims to be high-quality and discreet. Schroeder, a former product manager at wearables company Jawbone, wanted to create something his family and friends would find approachable.

“You could have it at your desk and no one’s going to be like, ‘Oh, what are you doing?’ But also, you could talk about it and it does help normalize it. You’re not smoking a joint or ripping a dab. You’re just drinking something that tastes really good,” Schroeder says.

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Jeff Sessions Says Marijuana Is Only ‘Slightly Less Awful’ Than Heroin. Science Says He’s Wrong


Alexandra Sifferlin -Time – Mar 16, 2017

Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in remarks prepared for delivery this week that he believes marijuana is “only slightly less awful,” than heroin.

“I realize this may be an unfashionable belief in a time of growing tolerance of drug use. But too many lives are at stake to worry about being fashionable,” reads his prepared statement Wednesday during an appearance with local and federal law enforcement officials in Richmond, Va. “I reject the idea that America will be a better place if marijuana is sold in every corner store. And I am astonished to hear people suggest that we can solve our heroin crisis by legalizing marijuana — so people can trade one life-wrecking dependency for another that’s only slightly less awful. Our nation needs to say clearly once again that using drugs will destroy your life.”

Sessions veered from the script and did not say marijuana is “only slightly less awful” during his speech, though it remains in the remarks on the Department of Justice website. Scientists who study marijuana disagree with his position.

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Medicinal cannabis: Father of 5yo Katelyn Lambert gave daughter drug out of necessity


Medicinal cannabis: Father of 5yo Katelyn Lambert gave daughter drug out of necessity, court told

BY: Emma Simkin – ABC News – March 16, 2017

The father of a poster-child for medicinal cannabis was in tears as police confiscated the drug from their home, according to a video shown in court as he answered charges of cultivation and possession.

Michael Lambert entered the court surrounded by his family, including his five-year-old daughter Katelyn who has a severe form of epilepsy known as Dravet Syndrome.

Mr Lambert admitted that he had acted illegally in cultivating cannabis, but argued it was out of necessity to help treat his daughter who suffered from seizures, which traditional medicines could only supress.

“I believe my daughter was in imminent peril,” he said.

Mr Lambert initially began importing cannabis oil from Denmark but then started growing his own supply after fearing the overseas supply could run out.

The prosecution argued there were alternative and legal treatments available to Mr Lambert, while the magistrate also questioned whether home-produced cannabis oil had the same effectiveness as oil produced under clinical conditions.

But paediatrician Dr Adam Buckmaster told the court that he saw Katelyn one month after her father started administering her with cannabis oil containing an extract known as Cannabidiol (CBD).

He described “a significant improvement” in her condition and said: “I believe these improvements could only be attributed to CBD.”

Dr Buckmaster said she was “happy, interactive and social”.

Father in tears as property searched

The court was shown a DVD recording of the police search of Mr Lambert’s property.

He willingly showed police around the house and surrounds, giving them cannabis products, including two containers of dry sift, a tube of cannabis oil and cannabis plants.

In the recording, Mr Lambert told police he had a syringe in the fridge.

“You’ve got it and we have to seize it,” police said.

“It’s illegal.”

An emotional Mr Lambert began crying as he attempted to keep the oil to administer to his daughter that night.

Outside court, Mr Lambert said before taking medicinal cannabis, Katelyn was “doing a whole lot more dribbling and jerking” and she “wasn’t enjoying her life”.

“But look at her today, she’s having a good life,” he said.

“We know she’s been damaged by the seizures prior to medicinal cannabis but since she’s been on it she’s just been doing really well.”

Katelyn’s grandfather, Barry Lambert, said because of medicinal cannabis Katelyn had not been hospitalised nor had she experienced seizures for the past 20 months.

He said the CBD that was found in the cannabis plant, had assisted greatly and “she is clear as a bell”.

 

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LUXURY CANNABIS IS OFFICIALLY HERE


LUXURY CANNABIS IS OFFICIALLY HERE

By: Lauren Alexis Fraser – March 13, 2017 – Harpers Bazaar

The fashion industry has never been one to hide its infatuation with marijuana. Designers like Alexander Wang, Vetements, Jeremy Scott and more have embraced stoner culture in past collections with everything from weed grinder necklaces to pot print motifs. But now, fashion is finally ready to upgrade from cannabis prints to the real deal.

Enter Beboe, a new luxury cannabis brand making high-end products for a more sophisticated weed consumer. Founded by Clement Kwan (former president of YOOX) and renowned tattoo artist Scott Campbell, Beboe’s products—which so far include a vaporizer and pastilles—come in luxe packaging meant to be taken to different social settings from dinner to late night cocktails to afternoon tea (yes, this pot is chic enough for afternoon tea). The cannabis-infused products are made with a low dose blend of THC and CBD suited for both seasoned smokers and newbies.

“We hope to further along the end of prohibition by building sophisticated products and brands to attract a more sophisticated consumer. This is what we hope will be the catalyst in forging into this new frontier,” Kwan said in a statement from the brand.

And the story behind how Beboe was born is a surprisingly sweet one. The brand’s name was derived from Campbell’s grandmother, Be Boe, who baked marijuana brownies for his mother as she battled cancer during his childhood.

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People are giving their pets cannabis to cure their illnesses


With more people turning to medicinal marijuana to ease their ailments, others in the US are now using it to treat their pets.

Sick animals are being fed cannabis-based extracts, ointments and edibles to treat everything from arthritis to anxiety.

But the substances are not regulated and the health benefits have yet to be tested on animals, according to CNN.

Brett Hartmann gives his two dogs, Kallie and Brutus, a dose of liquid cannabis with their meals everyday.

Asked if he is just drugging his dogs, he said: ‘I beg to differ. I feel like this is botanical, this is plant medicine.’

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